Welcome to responsible travel in North Sumatra
Eco - Farms
Interested in local agriculturre & organic farming? These tours bring you to two local Eco-Farm which are trying to change they way people farm for a better future
What is Eco-Farming?
Eco-Farming is a way of cultivating agriculture that places an emphasis on both the health of the environment and the health of its consumers. Long before conventional and modern agriculture practices had been put into place, people had farmed in an eco-friendly way.
However, the ease and convenience of the modern-day agriculture, such palm oil or monoculture agriculture which produces crops at a higher yield but can cause severe damage to the land, causing soil erosion and changes to the biodiversity.
Bukit Lawang in surrounded by monculture agriculture, from small scale land use of sweetcorn, cacao or rubber trees to the now dominated landscape of oil palm, which can all be seen and visited during the village tours.
The practice of organic farming or farming in an ecological way has been lost here, but there are two Eco-Farms located not far from Bukit Lawang that are worth a visit.
One which is owned and ran by an inspirational local lady, Erna, called Erna's Eco-Farm and a larger Eco-farm with a educational centre ran by a local organisation called PPHL Bahorok. PPHL is a non-profit organisation providing environmental education and nature conservation. You can read more about PPHL Bahorok here. Both Erna and PPHL want to develop public awareness, both locally and internationally, to the enviornmental issues of current farming and how sustainable organic farming can lead for the future.
Sumatra EcoVentures are happy to support these Eco-Farms.
By offering tours, visitors and guests can get up close to local organic farming practices and at Erna's Eco-Farm you can offer your help and get stuck in or even volunteer for a day or few days. Even enjoy a fresh young cocnut!
Volunteering at Erna's helps support the great work Erna is doing. Visitors and guests will get to see what these farms are producing, how they are helping the local commnunity and how they are trying to make changes in a positive way for a better future.
This tour will bring you to two Eco-Farms located not far Bukit Lawang. You will travel by traditional taxi called a Becak or if solo by motorbike.
The tour will start by passing through the village of Gotong Royong then into the next village before turning off onto a track to Erna's Community Garden and meet Erna. She will show you around the community garden and compost house. You will learn about what plants are being grown and the compost project.
After, back into the becak to Erna's Eco-Farm. The becak can only take you so far, so a little walk along a small track with rice paddies on one side and small dwellings on the other. You will be greeted by the local people and children.
Depending on the season, the rice will either be green, be ready for harvest or have already been cut. You will enter the small entrance to Erna's Farm, which opens into a large area.
Erna will then give you a tour of her farm, showing you all the different areas of plants, fruits and vegetables. She will talk about why she decided to go organic and explain about everything. You will get to feel, smell and taste some of the spices she is growing at the farm. You can then sit back and relax with one of the local made herbal teas or young coconut. When in season, you will get to try the locally grown passion fruit.
After finishing your drinks, we walk back to the becak and continue to the next Eco-Farm, just a short drive away. The Eco-farm is located by surrounding rice paddies and small-scale monoculture. Here you will meet Mira, a young lady helping at the farm.
Entering PPHL Eco-Farm you will see the huge poles of Bamboo. Mira will explain the process of treating the bamboo before taking you into the farm. She will give you a tour, showing and explaining about the different plants, vegetables, fruits and spices growing. What's special about this farm is that they produce Bio-gas from cow dung, which you will be shown.
There are normally fruit and vegetables for sale, just ask Mira.
Cost: IDR 500,000
Start Time: 9am
Duration: 4 hours
Included: Transport, guide, donation to eco-farms, herbaltea, coconut drink
Group Size: 1 - 4 (minimum 2)
What to Bring: Comfortable shoes, water, suncream, insect repellant
These Eco-farms can be visited separately if your short on time. A visit to the PPHL Eco-farm can be combined with the Eco-walking tour which is given by Mira so she can take you to the farm after the walking tour.
As mentioned above Erna runs her farm alone and is always looking for help. If you think this is something that interests you, click here to find out more. Erna also offers cooking classes which includes a visit to her farm.
A visit to either of these farms can be included in the Village Tour as this tour passes both these places. Please enquire here